If you’re like me when I was in high school, back to school meant some hefty shopping trips for new outfits, school supplies, and obviously, new shoes. While you still might feel tempted to do this, from a perspective of a student in university, it’s all unnecessary. I wish I would’ve saved all that money for the future because what did all of that stuff accomplish? Nothing. Half of the stuff I didn’t use. Agendas? Didn’t need it. Still until this day I buy agendas promising myself this year will be super organized, but that’s not how life works. Life throws curveballs and if you aren’t prepared for that, you’ll be under a lot more pressure than before your agenda. That’s not to say that agendas don’t work for everyone, some people need that, and kudos to you, but for me? I’ll realistically withdraw myself from that pending failure. Enough about agendas, so here is my list of uncommon back to school advice, which may sound blunt, but these are things that I wish I could’ve known/realized throughout high school.
Easier said than done, right? It’s alright, as long as you’re aware of your negativity and you try being a little more positive, that’s more than you were doing prior. I remember in high school being the most negative and grumpy person; I didn’t enjoy myself, I didn’t join many clubs or sports teams because they were “lame”. I was so wrapped up in hating everyone and the world. And to this day, I still hate the world, but I try seeing the light in everything, like the beauty of the physical world itself, and how blessed I am for even existing on such a planet. But I digress. Try being honest with yourself and do things that will lead you to mini successes, which will leave you feeling overall more positive. For example, making a healthy breakfast for yourself, working on assignment due in a couple weeks even for 5 minutes. Things like this can lift your spirit and keep you feeling good about school and yourself. Also, enjoy yourself socially, that is something I barely did because I assumed everyone disliked me. Who cares anyways? I don’t even speak to those people anymore and I should’ve just socialized to make my time a little more comfortable and less paranoid.
Don’t buy a bunch of new school supplies
I remember going shopping for my own back to school supplies and having a receipt of up to $100. Now when I look back I could use that money to pay for so many more useful things. Be realistic and choose a style of note-taking that works for you. For myself, I like the traditional pen and notebook. Loose papers, laptops, or printouts of notes do not work for me and I find myself never looking back at my notes when they’re in those types of formats. So be consistent with what works with you and don’t switch between mediums because things will get lost or you’ll forget about certain information. Highlighters are helpful, especially when you take notes on paper, or even for tests/exams; I always like highlighting key words that help me stay on topic and focused. Sticky notes/tabs are also something I use frequently, when reading textbooks (and I don’t want to highlight in them). I use the tabs to mark certain sections, and sticky notes to records any connections made or anything to remember. I also like using sticky notes on top of notebooks to remind myself of certain questions I have, or things to do, this is sort of like my agenda and how I keep organized.
Health/nutrition is key
Please focus on eating well throughout school, it’s magical how much nutrition can affect your emotions and performance at school. It’ll help you stay focused in class and will help you feel less tired during the early mornings and hopefully overcome the after school slump. Please research into nutrition, it helped me so much and allowed me to lose about 50lbs during high school.
There’s not much else to say, just drink water. And please try cutting out all other drinks, whether that’s soda, alcohol, or sugary fruit juices. Do your body a favour and fuel it with what it really needs. Always keep a reusable water bottle with you. If you don’t own one, that’s something you can add to your back to school shopping list.
Meal prep healthy lunches
I didn’t start doing this until university and I would’ve saved a lot of money by preparing meals ahead of time. Sunday night is the perfect time to cook a large amount of food and store into containers to make it easy to grab and go. Being prepared can set you up for simple successes. Also, cafeteria food is disgusting. There are so many recipes/meal prep videos that fit any diet on YouTube which helped me a lot through university.
Think of a workout regime that’s practical
This one is difficult because I still haven’t perfected this one. So this may be a little hypocritical now, but in high school I actually did manage to work out a few times a week. I used to buy Seventeen magazine all the time and use the workouts in there. It would only take me about half an hour, but that’s all I needed. Be realistic with this one, you need to understand that a little is better than nothing. Ten jumping jacks is more than what you did before, and small achievements will keep you motivated to do more everyday. Also try incorporating small things, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator. Simple things can make a world of a difference. Don’t be lazy. You know when you’re comfy sitting on your couch and the remote is just out of reach? Or you really want a glass of water? Just get up and do it. No questions asked. You’ll create a habit out of this and will keep you moving.
Kick procrastination ASAP
I’m the worst at this. But I motivate myself by telling myself “I’ve spent more time trying to avoid this than I would’ve needed to accomplish it”. Realizing this can help you to just get things done. My boyfriend is very good at this, and he gets things done immediately once it’s handed to him. If this is you, congrats. But for people like me, this is where I want your energy to go towards. This is a skill that you need in the future when people are relying on you at work or even in group projects. It’s sort of like exercising, you hate it but once it’s done you feel amazing.
Open up a savings account
Get your money together and talk to a financial advisor, they will know that you’re only a student wanting to give their future a solid head start. If you have a part time job, try putting at least 75% of every paycheck into your savings account. Do not touch this account, no matter what. No shopping trip is worth taking away money for the future.
Overall, I’m not saying not to socialize and to not have fun, but in the future all of that doesn’t matter. If there’s one thing I can tell you, is to do it for the memories. Don’t do things for anybody but yourself. Have fun for yourself and develop stories and experiences to reflect on. Don’t do it to impress anyone or to look cool, you will never see those people again. Get your work done, get a part time job and set yourself up for success. Balance is key, don’t be miserable yet don’t be blowing all your money on going out with friends. Do things that will create memories and enjoy that time of your life the best you can, because you’re only that age once.